ANC fears KZN voters will punish party at 2019 polls

2017-12-24 06:04
Zweli Mkhize

Zweli Mkhize

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The KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s failure to secure a spot in the party’s top six has sparked fears that voters in the province will punish the party at the polls in 2019.

Stemming from the 2015 provincial conference, deep divisions in the province have dismantled what was the most powerful voting bloc at ANC conferences.

Insiders say that the KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s failure – which saw an end to a two-decade tradition of KwaZulu-Natal leaders in the top six – might be a much-needed wake up call for voters.

Senior leaders have vowed to put their heads together to unite the province, which they say will come back fighting.

Three candidates from the province – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zweli Mkhize and Senzo Mchunu – made it to the ballot and the province brought the largest delegation to conference. And yet, despite odds stacked in their favour, the ANC conference last weekend opted to give President Jacob Zuma’s province a time-out.

Nomvula Mokonyane, a national executive committee deployee to the province, said the ANC was concerned about the divisions.

“I have been in contact with the comrades in KwaZulu-Natal and I think this is one province that has got a rich history in the struggle, including a rich history in terms of the provision of leadership,” she said this week.

“One of the things that we are reflecting on are the costs of internal divisions in the province, because one of its strengths over the years is that when the province gets into the national space, it usually unites. Not that there are no internal dynamics, but normally when it comes to a national conference it comes as a bloc.

“This time was different and we all agree that because of the problems there currently – which unfortunately repeat themselves around one and the same person, comrade Senzo Mchunu – I hope we will be able to work together because KwaZulu-Natal contributes the most in terms of the ANC’s threshold for elections.

“KwaZulu-Natal’s population is too big to be ignored, but that does not mean that if there is no leader in the top six that the ANC cannot influence society in KwaZulu-Natal. What is important is for the ANC to show the electorate in the province that there are capable men and women who are part of the collective who have made attempts, such as comrades Nkosazana [Dlamini-Zuma], Zweli Mkhize and Senzo Mchunu.”

Mchunu, who was ousted as provincial chairperson at the 2015 provincial conference in favour of Sihle Zikalala, was tipped to be the ANC’s next secretary-general. Mchunu was key to newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign.

This week Mchunu was left with egg on his face when his supporters carried him to the elective conference stage thinking he had been victorious, only to discover that he had lost the vote.

Instead, long-serving Free State chairman Ace Magashule was voted in as the new ANC secretary-general.

In September the High Court in Pietermaritzburg nullified the provincial executive committee chaired by Zikalala. The committee did not support Mkhize or Mchunu in their top six bids, favouring Dlamini-Zuma instead. It is understood that the now illegitimate committee resents Mkhize, the party’s former treasurer-general, for withdrawing legal support from that case.

“Imagine if the three were part of a collective coming from KwaZulu-Natal? But it is also a demonstration of internal democracy in the ANC,” Mokonyane said.

“People are not a flock of sheep that does not have views, but this matter does need serious political consideration.”

Read more on:    anc  |  elections 2019

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